The Milk of Moonlight blog chews the cud of life and literature. I write about what happens to me as I live and write poems. I’m also keen on reading other poets and writers work, so I’ll comment on how well they come across. Mostly, I like how words surprise us and alter our ways of knowing about ourselves and the world.
The blog focuses on accessible poems, the kind readable and comprehensible without an advanced degree in literature. It’s not that I don’t enjoy less accessible or difficult poems, I do. I take this approach to readers here because I want to share poetry with a wider audience. Poetry enriches life.
Most of my friends and acquaintances view poetry as an odd creature — some misshapen squirrel chattering from an ominous tree. They are not entirely mistaken but they also haven’t seen the whole poetry scene. I want to show them another side of the forest, the one with the narrow animal path leading in. If I think the language in a poem might glare and blind, I’ll try and provide some shade so they can get a better view. My goal at Milk of Moonlight is to invite readers in, not send them packing.
A Bit of Biography
For those who are curious for biographical details, I was poisoned in the womb by DES (diethylstilbestrol), a drug my mother took to avert a miscarriage. This resulted in several medical issues throughout my life. I was born, named Kristen (you can call me Kris), a blue baby (Methemoglobinemian) in the mid 1950’s. Recent medical advances at the time made my survival possible. I grew up in a modest suburb outside Detroit, Michigan. My father had a terminal relationship with booze. After my mother divorced him, she took in laundry and worked in an auto junk yard to keep the wolves from the door. That year, at age 11, I began working at a drive-in washing dishes and eventually flipping burgers. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy and literature from Eastern Michigan University. There I met and married the most beautiful, humble, and talented woman I know. She miraculously keeps at least one of my two feet on the ground. Somewhat slaves to the do-it-yourself ethos, we built two homes with our four hands — one in rural Michigan and another in bush Alaska. My working life has consisted of numerous work roles (doorman, roustabout, factory worker, logistics coordinator, clerical clerk, heavy equipment operator, work leader, fuel farm manager, dog handler, musher, kennel owner, free-lance writer, daily news staff writer and more.
Out of all this work, none holds more fascination for me than my life’s vocation as a poet. When my wanderlust took me by dog team across the Alaskan and Yukon wilderness, poetry came out of some bitter winds. When my need to compete had me running marathons or sliding race cars into concrete walls, poetry emerged with broken-ribbed praise. As I experience familial fractures and deformations — I write broken lines of pain and beauty — of scars and the beauty of stars. I attempt to create a poetry that isn’t merely expression of content but an experience made of words. Much of it is drivel; some of it inspired. Slowly it matures.
I am at work on my first book of poems. I use the word “work” and mean it. I am always relieved after writing to move outside, grab garden hoe or split some birch logs. I suppose a person could simply fill a book made up of prose broken into lines and call that poetry. I’m not interested in the first thing off the top of my head, except as a clue to what comes next. You can find gaggles of verse on the Web and at your local book store that seem to be stuck on itself by making statements, or opinions or arguments or that too often reached for bastion of faux poetry, venting. This approach values inspiration over perspiration, and self-indulgence over community. The question for this and any other poetry is always the same: why would anyone want to read a poem? Will the reader experience in a poem anything universal to the human condition to which they can identify? If you want to record some novel sensory experience, why not turn to YouTube and record your kittens at play or aim your camera at some jackass busting his balls on a skate board?
The work of poetry is finding the universal in the particular. I like to discover in composing words and lines, as the reader might, a resonance between form and content. Hopefully, the result will not only be a discovery but a altered perspective. Is it too much to ask of a poem that it will trigger a paradigm shift, a revelation, a perfect paradox, an epiphany — something that sets the reader’s world turning in an altogether new direction. A way in or out.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org